SAINT LUCY SCHOOL
FOR CHILDREN WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS
This Handbook has been carefully prepared in order for you to be familiar with the expectations at Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments. The explanations within contribute to developing values and facilitate building the Catholic community of Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments.
You are asked to read this handbook carefully so that you may support us in our efforts to provide your child with an education that will prepare him/her for the future. We ask you to fulfill the obligations listed for parents and encourage your child to fulfill those listed for students. Please return the form at the back of the book after reading this handbook with your child.
Thank you and God bless you!
Sister Lisa Ann Lettiere, IHM
FACULTY / STAFF
SUPERINTENDENT FOR SECONDARY EDUCATION / SPECIAL EDUCATION
Sister Maureen Lawrence McDermott, IHM, Ph.D.
INTERIM DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EDUCATION
Danielle Heeney, Ed.D.
Sister Lisa Ann Lettiere, IHM, M.Ed., TVI, COMS
Sister Noreen James Friel, IHM
FINANCIAL SECRETARY / LIBRARIAN
Sister Amy Summers, IHM
Mrs. Christine Geiger, M.Ed
Ms. Meghan Faino, M.S.
Ms. Rachael Lang, B.S.
Ms. Mary Theresa Pierce, M.Ed.
Mrs. Aderonke Koya, M.Ed.
Mr. Bryan Kugler, B.S.
Mrs. Mary Ann Roberto, B.S., CVI Endorsement
Literary Braille /Nemeth Code Support
Ms. Clare Westlund, B.A.
Mrs. Marianne Lacey, B.S.
Ms. Linda Martin
Ms. Kathryn Pierce, B.S.
Sister Elaine George, IHM, B.A.
CERTIFIED ORIENTATION AND MOBILITY SPECIALIST
Mrs. Cora Franze, M.S. / Elwyn Services
Ms. Meghan Bretz, M.S. / Elwyn Services
Ms. Monica Carr, CORA Services
Mrs. Patty Faix, CORA Services
Technology Ms. Suzanne Erb
Art Mrs. Jacqueline Diamond
Music Ms. Maria Cefferatti
Physical Education Ms. Kim Guido
Occupational Therapist Mrs. Leslie Rosenwaike
HISTORY of Saint Lucy School
St. Lucy Day School was founded within St. Francis DeSales Parish in 1955. At
that time, there was a high population of blind children due to the overuse of oxygen in hospitals to save the lives of premature babies, and because of the rubella epidemic. As these children reached school age, their parents sought a program which would provide instruction in the faith as well as the special education their children needed. Finding none available, they approached Cardinal O'Hara, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, and requested that a school be established for the education of children with visual impairments.
After much preparation, St. Lucy Day School became a reality through the cooperation of Bishop McShea, pastor of St. Francis DeSales, the generosity of his parishioners, and the educational guidance of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In addition, the Diocesan Director of Special Education, later Bishop Graham of Philadelphia, assumed responsibility for the direction of the school, and the Office of the Catholic Charities Appeal funded the project.
The principal and teachers at St. Francis DeSales accepted and welcomed the children with visual impairments into their classrooms. This enabled the St. Lucy children to participate in certain instructional periods with their sighted peers. This early and successful attempt to mainstream students, that is, have the children spend part of the day in regular classrooms, not only provided the normalization and socialization for the St.
Lucy children, but also has become a model for programs attempting to serve the population with visual impairments. And so, with these factors combined and God's constant blessings, the school opened, expanded and is still flourishing. Holy Innocent A.C.E.S is the third location for SLDS.
Saint Lucy School MISSION STATEMENT
Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments is a Catholic School that provides spiritual and academic instruction, as well as training in all areas of the expanded core curriculum; thus, preparing students for the challenge of life and pursuit of higher education. Students are encouraged to strive for and realize their greatest potential so that they may fulfill their responsibility to serve God and others.
Saint Lucy School PHILOSOPHY
Saint Lucy School revolves around three basic beliefs regarding life, personhood and community. The first belief is that life is a gift. We each have a responsibility to live our life to the fullest, to live with dignity and with grace, and to praise God through that life. The second belief is that we all have a unique personhood and are loved equally by God. We must love each other the way God loves us...in our unique brokenness. Together we struggle to commune with God who offers us all wholeness in grace. Disability may be seen in this context, not as the identity of any individual, but as one facet of all individuals. The third belief - and the mission of Saint Lucy School - is that all of us, students, family and staff in the community of Christians, are one. We are a gift to each other, having the responsibility to help each other grow in love, to find our place in the Kingdom, and strive for and, with God's grace, to realize our greatest potential.
Saint Lucy School EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
Saint Lucy KINDERGARTEN
(for children 5 to 6 years old)
Our goal is to maximize your child’s potential for learning. Instruction in special skill areas to enhance visual efficiency and/or full sensory awareness will prepare your child to function well in his/her home and school environment.
Saint Lucy Grades 1 - 8
(for children ages 6 to 14 years old)
Flexible scheduling permits students to receive instruction in special skill areas along with traditional subjects. Special skills include: braille, orientation and mobility, daily living skills, and assistive technology. Small group and individual instruction permit students to learn skills specific to their needs, according to their potential. St. Lucy School curriculum also includes adaptive physical education, music and computer.
Students with CVI will have direct assessment and instruction with a teacher of the visually impaired who has earned endorsement as a CVI specialist. The CVI specialist will also support the development of adaptations needed for a child to have visual access to his/her educational materials.
The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin or Religion. Students accepted into Saint Lucy School are placed in various programs. Age is one factor in influencing a child’s placement. Children who are four years of age by September 1 of the academic year may enter the pre-kindergarten class; while those who are five years of age by September 1 are eligible to enter the kindergarten class. First grade students must be six years of age by September 1.
Degree of visual impairment is the primary factor influencing placement. All students who enter the program must satisfy the following criteria for visual impairment:
- A visual acuity of 20/70 or less in the better eye or visual field loss in which the peripheral field is 20 degrees or less (Tunnel Vision).
- A reduced acuity of better than 20/70 if the child also demonstrates symptoms such as nystagmus, high astigmatism, or perceptual difficulties that interfere with learning.
- Students whose learning is affected by a non-optical visual impairment such as Cortical Visual Impairment which is diagnosed by a medical professional.
- Students who are adjusting to sudden visual loss or eye surgery are admitted on trial basis.
Although the majority of students at Saint Lucy School have an ocular visual impairment as their sole disability, children with mild secondary disabilities may be accepted into the program at the discretion of the principal and in consultation with the parents and teachers. The term of enrollment is as long as the program is appropriate for the child as determined by the principal.
GENERAL ADMISSION GUIDELINES
Students may be referred to our school by a variety of sources, including physicians, low vision clinics, pediatric neurologists, school districts, intermediate units and parents. The following steps need to be completed prior to initial placement.
- Complete and return the New Student Application/Health Packet.
- Schedule an appointment to visit our school and to meet with the principal and other professionals.
- If the student meets the criteria for admission, the child be accepted into the program.
- Parents will sign a release of information for school records to be forwarded to us if your child is coming to us from another school.
- Parents will be required to re-register annually.
The following documents are required at the time of registration:
- Birth Certificate
- Baptismal Certificate
- Passport if Applicable
- Medical Records
- Most recent eye report)
- Psycho-Educational Records (no more than 2 years old)
- Behavior Support Plans
- Letter from Pastor of Your Home Parish if Catholic
- Pertinent Legal Information (custody papers)
ADMISSION OF NON-CATHOLICS
Our schools serve a variety of purposes, including the academic, social and physical development of the students. The primary purpose of our schools is religious.
We offer a complete Catholic religious education program so that all students will develop the Faith and live a full Christian life.
Non-Catholic students may be admitted under the following conditions.
- The permission of the principal is obtained.
- The parents/guardians agree in writing to permit their child/ren to attend religion classes and religious functions as part of the school’s program.
- The parents/guardians commit themselves in writing to accept and to promote the philosophy, goals, objectives, and regulations of our school.
- The parents/guardians agree in writing to assume responsibility for all financial obligations.
The School Laws of Pennsylvania classify absences as unexcused or illegal except for the following reasons: illness of the pupil, death in the family, quarantine, and "exceptional urgent reasons" that affect the child. This is a requirement for special education, as well as regular education, students.
Students will be expected to attend class every day. Absences cause serious delays in the academic performance of your child
A child who has been absent from school must present a written explanation from the parent or legal guardian upon returning to school. Parents must call school (1-215-289-4220) on the morning of illness and give a message to the secretary regarding reason for absence. A doctor's certificate is required for serious illness or three days or more absence for children in grades K - 8.
Students who do not arrive in class by 7:55 AM will be marked tardy (with the exception of bus delay).
Every student must carry a schoolbag to and from school. All print books must be covered with the exception of copybooks. Covers must be neat and clean. Books should be appropriately identified with the child’s name, school, room number and address.
The student and parents/guardian must pay lost or damaged books in full.
Many students are entrusted with the care of electronic devices which assist in their learning. All students are required to treat electronic devices with the utmost care. In the event of damage or malfunction, the student must immediately inform her/his teacher about the problem. Parents of students, who through neglect or lack of responsibility lose or destroy an electronic device will be required to provide the funds to replace the unit.
Students must take care of their personal belongings, books and clothing. They are also asked to help care for the school building and adjoining property. Any malicious damage will necessitate compensation.
Each student is expected to observe safety regulations of the school district both at bus stops and while riding the bus.
- Be ready 10 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time.
- Show respectful attitude to bus drivers and assistants.
- Must remain in assigned seats at all times refraining from touching windows, vandalism, disrespect, inappropriate language, fighting, and/or playing loud music.
Parents will have to provide transportation if a child cannot behave on the bus. The lives and well being of other children cannot be endangered.
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
It is the policy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that all employees must comply with Child Protective Services Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This law makes it mandatory to report suspected cases of child abuse and/or neglect to the principal, who must file a report with Department of Human Services.
All phones must be turned off during the school day and must be kept with personal belongings. Phones ringing, buzzing or receiving text messages during the school day will be confiscated until a parent picks it up in the office. If a child needs to make an emergency phone call during the school day, they are to use the phone in the classroom or office with permission from a staff member.
Please check the children's folders every night and read the flyers, calendars, and other important messages from the principal and teachers. The junior high students often “forget” their folders. Please help us help them to be organized and ask them for the folder.
Parent Conferences (K-8) are held during the first distribution of report cards in December and during IEP planning meetings. Individual classroom teachers set the schedule for these conferences. Parents are invited to meet with the teacher throughout the school year. Please write or call to arrange this meeting. These meetings are not optional.
ANNUAL YEARLY PROGRESS
Student annual progress is typically assessed using the Brigance Diagnostic Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills. Students who are pursuing transitioning into an academic high school program will be assessed using the Terra Nova Test . The determination as to which protocol a student will be using will be determined by the teacher and principal. Students in St. Lucy School will participate in yearly testing. Since the Brigance test requires individual administration, two days in the spring will be set aside for individual testing. Parents are responsible to provide transportation for this once a year assessment. No bus services will be provided on either of the designated testing date. Teachers will communicate with parents in order to arrange a mutually agreeable schedule.
Students are responsible to use their school computers, IPads, and Braille Note Takers with great care. Access to the internet is permissible only for purposes of research and learning. A student who seeks an unacceptable site will be immediately suspended. In order for students to have access to the Internet his/her parents must sign the student access contract in September. (The administration of Saint Lucy School reserves the right to amend this policy.)
It is necessary for updated custody papers to be in the child’s personal folder in the school office. Custodial parents are likewise asked to supply the school with copies of restraining orders if the need arises. Those individuals who have legal custody of a student may attend school meetings, participate in educational decisions and review educational records. Persons who do not have legal custody (including those with visitation rights but not legal custody) have no such educational rights and may not participate in these matters.
RELEASE OF A CHILD
A child will not be released to a parent/guardian that does not have physical custody, without the written consent of the custodial parent/guardian. To determine the custodial parent/guardian, all separated or divorced parents of the student must provide the school with a copy of the court order or custodial agreement adjudicating that determination of custody.
School records will be reproduced, upon request, to a parent who has shared custody.
DAILY LIVING SKILLS
Parent Support Group Meetings are planned throughout the school year during which vision professionals teach parents how to assist their child in completing house hold tasks and daily living skills. Parents are strongly encouraged to attend these evenings along with their child to learn non-visual methods of accomplishing tasks.
Parents are asked to review the AT-HOME Program to encourage the daily living skills for children that are appropriate for their developmental level. If you do not have a copy of this program, be sure to ask for one.
UNACCEPTABLE CONDUCT includes, but not limited to, the following:
These categories do not cover every possible situation. This policy applies both in and out of the classroom, in the school community generally and outside the school community, where the behavior is contrary to Catholic teachings.
Measures Taken by Teacher Prior to Principal Referral
Conference with Student
Conference with Parent/Student
Phone Call and/or email to Parent
Action Taken by Principal Because of Referral
Conference with Student
Conference with Parent
Letter of Apology
Placed on Daily Report
In School and possibly Out of School Suspension
Referred to Behavior Specialist Teacher
Transfer to Another School
Serious infractions may result in an immediate suspension or dismissal. Appropriate disciplinary policies are essential in order to protect the common good of the school community.
PROCEDURES FOR STUDENT SUSPENSIONS/DISMISSALS
Students are in a loving and caring atmosphere at Saint Lucy School. They are encouraged to revere and respect all staff and peers. Rules and regulations are important for order and safety and students are required to follow them. The essence of Christian discipline is self-discipline. Students need to realize that the observance of rules brings happiness to ones’ self and others. The rules of school safeguard their freedom and rights.
Each classroom teacher sets standards of appropriate behavior. This is done according to the age and ability of the student. Positive reinforcement is used at all times. When a serious disciplinary measure is needed, the principal and parents are notified. A conference is held with the parents, students, teachers, and principal to discuss further measures.
Parents are asked to arrange for doctor/dental appointments on holidays or early dismissal days whenever possible. If you do schedule an appointment during the school day, please make every effort to bring your child to school afterwards.
Send a note to your child’s teacher if you intend to pick up your child early. State the reason why your child must be dismissed early. All dismissals will take place in the main office and the student must be signed out of school by the parent. Parents must sign out the Early Dismissal Book. NO EXCEPTIONS. Your child will only be dismissed to the individual/s you approved of on the form. Report any changes to the office immediately.
If your child is going to another child’s home for an overnight stay etc. both parents must write a note to the principal. The principal will not approve any change in transportation routines unless the parent/s put the request in writing. Parents also have the responsibility to contact transportation. The school will confirm all temporary changes with transportation.
NO CHILD MAY LEAVE THE BUILDING PRIOR TO DISMISSAL WITHOUT THE PRINCIPAL’S PERMISSION.
Parents are asked to arrange for these appointments on holidays or early dismissal days whenever possible.
DRESS CODE (See also Uniforms)
Students are encouraged to take pride in their appearance by coming to school neat, clean and well groomed.
We require that the parent/guardian of every student complete the emergency contact form provided. It’s important that you update this information as needed. We must be able to reach you in an emergency.
Emergency information/closing is announced on KYW-1060 AM using our snow number 208. Saint Lucy School serves many school districts and there are times when parents will also be notified by phone in the event of an emergency that would require an early dismissal.
Faculty Meetings are listed on the yearly/monthly calendar.
The student and his/her family receive support through group meetings and individual consultation. Computer education and braille instruction are offered to family members upon request. Basic Sign Language classes are offered to family members upon request.
Our staff and resources are available even subsequent to the student's transfer or graduation from our school.
Children’s Scholarship Fund (Philadelphia)
Lions and Lioness Clubs
Title 1 Provides professional development for teachers, library books, audiovisual equipment and computer software. Parents are asked to sign the permission slip giving Saint Lucy School the rights to order books through the funding available through the public school district.
PA Act 89 provides Orientation and Mobility Services through the Intermediate Unit.
PA Act 90/195 Provides allotment for the purchase of textbooks.
PA Act 373 Provides eligible students with bus transportation. Students within a ten-mile radius are generally provided with bus transportation.
Students are taught safety rules for fire drills. These are practiced monthly and routes are posted in each classroom for adult information. Students must observe silence as they proceed from the building.
The school follows the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Policy prohibiting harassment, of any nature, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome sexual attention, sexual advances, and requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. Any student or parent/guardian who is determined to have violated this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including dismissal of the student. A complete copy of the policy is available upon request. It is the intent of the school to provide an educational environment free from all forms of improper threats, intimidation, hostility and offensive and inappropriate behavior. Such improper conduct may take the form of unwanted verbal or physical conduct, verbal or written derogatory (including internet chat rooms) or discriminatory statements and behavior not otherwise conducive to the educational and religious mission of the school. Unacceptable conduct – either by a student or a parent/guardian includes, but is not limited to, the following: disrespectful behavior of any kind toward or about any staff member, student, volunteer or parent, insubordination, fighting, bomb scares, cheating or plagiarism, use or possession of drugs, alcohol or weapons, smoking, stealing, bullying, intimidation, threats of any kind, both verbal and non-verbal, possession of any item which may present a danger to others. These categories do not cover every possible situation. The school will determine which behavior is inappropriate. This policy applies both in and out of the classroom, in the school community generally and outside the school community, where the behavior is contrary to Catholic Teachings or could bring disrepute or embarrassment to the school. Conduct by students or parent/guardians, or anyone acting on their behalf, incompatible with the educational and religious mission of the school is grounds for disciplinary action, including but not limited to the immediate dismissal of the student, as well as reporting the incident to the appropriate legal authorities. In addition, in the case of threats of violence or harassment, in any form, including oral, written or electronic, by a student against any member of the school community, the student, if suspended but not dismissed, may be required to have psychological or psychiatric clearance before returning to school.
Homework is assigned to develop habits of independent and useful study skills. It supplements and reinforces the daily classroom work.
Homework procedures will vary for each individual teacher. The following time allotment is suggested:
Grades 1-2 30 minutes
Grades 3-4 60 minutes
Grades 5-6 90 minutes
Grades 7-8 120 minutes
Parents are requested to:
- Provide a place and time for study.
- Check to see if work has been completed and sign it if the teacher requests your signature.
- Contact the teacher if a question arises concerning home study by means of a written note in the children's homework book or email the teacher.
- EXPECT HOMEWORK EVERY NIGHT (Some teachers do not assign homework on weekends.)
INDIVIDUAL EDUCATIONAL PLANS - I.E.P.
Individual Educational Plans are prepared for special skills and/or remedial academic subjects. A Parent Teacher conference will be held to develop the best possible program for the student. The final copy is completed and signed by parents.
The PA Board of Health regulations require that every child be completely immunized against these diseases:
Measles (Rubella) Two (the first dose administered on or after the first birthday; the second dose no less than a month after the first dose)
Hepatitis B Three doses
A certificate of immunization must be presented upon entrance to school and kept on file in every school office. Updates must be conducted in the event of an outbreak of a particular disease. Families will be notified if these regulations are changed.
Our library serves students, faculty, family and community. It contains Braille, large print, twin vision, tapes and videos addressing topics of research, entertainment and specialization in the area of educating children with visual impairments. All students have a weekly opportunity to check out a book or CD from the library. To encourage responsibility, students must return their book or CD before checking out another. Lost or damaged books/CDs/videos must be replaced.
Students celebrate liturgical activities with the Holy Innocents students. They participate in processions, singing, readings and other functions that call them into the Catholic Christian community. There is an opportunity to participate in the Liturgy of the Eucharist on specific days during the year. In addition, special liturgies and prayer services are celebrated during the year for members of Saint Lucy School community.
Students are invited to participate in the school lunch program if the parent chooses. Forms are sent home in September to explain the program. Monthly breakfast and lunch menus will be posted on the school website as well as distributed in print to each student.
NO GLASS BOTTLES OR SODA CANS ARE PERMITTED IN THE LUNCH ROOM.
The decision to mainstream a student is made by the principal and teachers at Saint Lucy School in consultation with the parents of the student, along with the principal and receiving teacher at Holy Innocents School. Mainstreaming will vary for each student.
For students who are mainstreamed, the Saint Lucy School handbook is to be used in conjunction with the Holy Innocents School Parent Student Handbook.
Parents are requested to consult their physician with regard to regulating dosage of medication so it may be administered at home. If it is absolutely necessary for medication to be given at school, a note from the doctor with explicit instructions must be kept on file in the office along with a permission slip from the parents. Medication that is sent to school must be in its original container.
The Philadelphia school district provides Saint Lucy School with services of a qualified school nurse on a part time basis. Her/His time is used to keep health records up to date, screen students, and to be a consultant for any need indicated by the principal.
All students must have up to date medical records upon admission into the school and are required to have a complete physical at age 12. They are also required to maintain a Pennsylvania Immunization Card and Emergency Contact Card on file at all times.
When a student becomes ill or injured at school, parents will be contacted. The school nurse will attend to your child, if available. If your child has to be transported to the hospital, you will be contacted immediately.
If your child must take medication during the school day, the school must be contacted and the parent may be required to come up to school to administer the medication.
DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL WITH MEDICATION UNLESS IT IS ACCOMPANIED WITH THE MEDICATION FORM.
All monies must be sent to school in an envelope marked with the student’s name, room number and purpose.
The public school provides Saint Lucy School with services of a qualified school nurse one day a week along with Holy Innocents School. Her/his time is used to keep health records to date, screen students, and to be a consultant for any need indicated by the principal.
The occupational therapist gives direct service to individual students who have the greatest need. Consultative services to parents and teachers are also provided. This is under the direction of the principal. The Saint Lucy School occupational therapist is willing to talk to and work with any parent who would like extra home activities for their child. Please direct all requests for OT services to the principal.
PARENT IN-SERVICES AND MEETINGS
There are many meetings held during the year. These meetings include Parent Support Group and Family In-services. The Back-to-School Night is very important and we request that a representative from your family attend. All families are invited to attend the Support Groups and Family In-Service Meetings. Parents may call and make an appointment with the principal and or teacher at any time during the year.
All students participate in a physical education class each week. Students are permitted to wear their gym uniforms to school on the designated day. If for some reason a child does not have the regulation gym uniform, he/she must wear his/her school uniform and bring solid navy blue sweats to change. Sneakers must always be worn for gym.
Tipping School Pictures takes student pictures each year. Notice is sent home prior to the date. Students are required to wear their school uniform for this picture. This will be noted on the monthly calendar. Purchase of school pictures is optional.
Tri-Pod Photography takes informal student pictures once a year. Notice is sent home prior to the date and students may wear the clothing of their choice. This date will be noted on the monthly calendar. Purchase of informal pictures is optional.
A “Photo-Release” form is sent home in September for parents to sign. This form indicates whether the child’s picture may or may not be used for school purposes, such as, brochures, special events, newspaper articles, etc.
Parents are encouraged to request and obtain a psycho-educational evaluation through their neighborhood public school every three years. Periodically, students have their records reviewed and updated by Saint Lucy School.
A registration fee is charged each year for everyday classroom needs of the child. This includes religion books, art supplies, physical education equipment and project needs. This fee is due when the re-registration contracts are signed in the spring.
RELEASE OF RECORDS
Unless a court or custody agreement otherwise specifies each parent is legally entitled to be provided access to all school records of the child. A child should not be released to a non-custodial parent without the written consent of the custodial parent. To determine the custodial parent, the school should request from all separated or divorced parents of the child enrolled in school, a copy of the court order adjudicating the determination of custody. This court order will be placed in the child’s file.
All students participate in religious instruction, as well as liturgies and prayer services.
Registration Contracts are signed by parents/guardians before a student is admitted into Saint Lucy School. Re-registration contracts are signed every spring.
The standard report card, distributed by the Office of Catholic Education and used by all the schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is used in the Saint Lucy School program. Report cards are distributed after each trimester. These report cards must be reviewed, signed and returned to school.
There are times when an individual student’s IEP will be used as a reporting tool along with a written progress report.
Criteria for Honors (Grades 4 – 8)
Distinguished Honors 95 or above in each subject
4 in Growth and in Effort
First Honors 91 or above in each subject
3 or 4 in Growth and in Effort
Second Honors 88 or above in each subject
3 or 4 in Growth and in Effort
It is recommended that all students receive the sacraments in their home parish. If the students receive the sacraments with Holy Innocents students, they must first have written permission of the pastor of their home parish to do so. Family involvement is an essential part of sacramental preparation.
Students are taught safety rules for fire drills. These are practiced monthly and routes are posted in each classroom for adult information. Students must regard silence as they proceed from the building.
Students also participate in lock down drills to prepare for unexpected emergencies. Every effort is made to prepare students in the event that an intruder gains access to the building. We also practice preparations in the event of an emergency situation outside the building.
All visitors must report to the main office and sign in the VISITOR’S LOG. An atmosphere of quiet respect for learning rights of others should prevail throughout the building.
The principal sends schedule changes home as soon as they are known. Always check the monthly calendar for upcoming events. The calendar will be available on the school website as well as in print format.
All students are required to have a school bag. A backpack and/or messenger bag are the most appropriate types of schoolbags. Both free the child’s hands to hold the railings when necessary. There are backpacks available that distribute the weight of books in such a way that avoids back problems.
Qualified staff members for small group outings drive the school van. A permission form is sent home at the beginning of each school year regarding the parent’s permission for the child to be driven in the van. A specific permission slip is given for a particular trip or activity during the school year.
All school doors are locked and cannot be entered from the outside without a key. The side door at the left of the building has a bell and buzzer system for safe and secure entrance.
The snow code for Saint Lucy School is Philadelphia County #208. This number is announced on KYW-1060 AM in the event of inclement weather or an emergency.
Students receive some funding through Acts 90/195 for the loan of non-religious textbooks and materials. Federal Quota provides funding for textbooks and materials from the American Printing House for the Blind. PaTTAN in Harrisburg provides Braille books on loan. Religion textbooks are brailled by the SLS staff and/or the Xavier Society for the Blind. The Archdiocese supplies most other needed texts and materials. Students are expected to carry their books in their school backpacks. Regular print textbooks must be covered. Parents will receive a print copy of the students’ Braille text. These books must be returned before the end of the school year in June.
Students are entitled to bus transportation under Pennsylvania Act 372 if the home district provides it to public school students and if the district is within a ten-mile radius of Saint Lucy School. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funds this transportation through the local Boards of Education.
Students who ride the bus will be expected to behave in a safe and orderly manner. Failure to do so will result in their being denied their busing privilege.
Parents who pick up their children by car at dismissal time must remain in the driver’s seat and park their cars along the curb on L Street facing north (school side of the street). Teachers will guide students to their parents’ cars. No student may be picked up on the south bound side of L Street.
Tuition fees cover approximately 30% of the cost of educating each student at Saint Lucy School. These fees are listed in the registration agreement. Catholic Charities provides for approximately 30% of operational costs. Tuition is paid monthly through Smart Tuition. Tuition payments begin July 1 of the upcoming year and end April 1st. Please pay on time as to avoid any late fees.
The students (K-8) wear a school uniform.
Preschool students may wear gym uniform.
The following is the norm:
Girls: Knee-length white/blue plaid jumper
Navy blue khaki shorts (summer)
Peter Pan Shirt - white long sleeve blouse
(short sleeves may be worn in warm weather)
Oxford Shirt (Grades 5 – 8)
Navy blue tights, knee socks, or ankle socks
(no sport socks, socks must reach the ankle)
Blue Saddle shoes
(Sneakers, leather or other material, are not permitted unless it is medically necessary.)
Navy Blue Sweater/Vest is a mandatory part of the dress code from November to March in Grades 5-8; optional for students in Grades 1-4
(cardigans are strongly suggested because of the variety in temperature throughout our buildings)
Girls: (Grades 5-8): Same as the above with the exception of:
Knee Length plaid kilt (rather than the jumper worn by girls k-4)
White Oxford Shirt (short sleeves may be worn in warm weather)
Solid Blue Saddle Shoes
Navy blue knee socks
Boys: Navy Blue trousers (a belt must be worn if they have loops and trousers must be worn to the waist, not to the hips)
White Shirt with a Tie
Navy blue sweater/vest is mandatory part of the dress code from November to March in grades 5-8; optional for students in grades 1-4 (strongly suggested because of the variety in temperature in our building.)
Black non-marking soled oxfords
Navy or black socks
Optional Wear: White polo shirts for both boys and girls from
September 9 to October 31st and April 1 through June 18.
Jewelry: A small ring is permitted, plain watch,
Girls may wear only one pair of small earrings
(one in each ear on the earlobe only)
Boys are not permitted to wear earrings
Hair: Must be clean and well groomed (boys’ hair must be above the collar)
Bleached or dyed hair
Cosmetics, colored nail polish, and sculptured nails
Make up of any kind
Saint Lucy School boys are not permitted to “wear” facial hair,
e.g. moustaches, beards, long sideburns, etc.
A school gym uniform is required to be worn on gym day.
From September 9 through October 31st and April 6 through June 18 students should wear a navy blue T-shirt (preferably with the school logo) and navy blue shorts (preferably with the school logo)
From November 2 through March 31 the students wear navy blue sweat pants with the navy blue sweat shirt.
Vacations during the school year are strongly discouraged. It is requested that family vacations coincide with school vacations. It is the parents’ responsibility to see that all work missed is made up when the student returns to school.
All visitors must report to the principal’s office when entering the school for any reason.
To minimize disruptions to the school day, teachers are not permitted to leave classrooms to answer the phone or to confer with parents while classes are in session. Accordingly, no one is permitted in the classroom without permission of the principal. If it is necessary to bring articles to school during the day, they must be left in the school office.
Any parent who wishes to volunteer in school and/or chaperone school trips must have the proper clearances submitted to the office Saint Lucy School and Holy Innocents. There are no exceptions.
Role of the Resource Room Teacher
The resource room teacher is a person who enables the blind/visually impaired student to eventually participate in the general education school program. Functions of the resource room teacher include the following according to the individual needs of the student:
- Collect and read medical information
- Assess all areas of the expanded core curriculum
- Suggest environmental modifications to classroom teachers
- Interpret medical information and visual functioning of the student to the regular classroom teachers
- Locate and provide materials including: pictures, models, real objects, and adaptive supplies for use in class
- Procure texts, workbooks, charts, test etc. in the appropriate learning medium
- Provide instruction in special skills areas as noted in the expanded core curriculum
- Provide instruction in those subjects for which the student is not mainstreamed
- Coordinate the child’s individual schedule with auxiliary personnel
- Create IEPs with appropriate goals to facilitate student growth
- Track IEP goals
- Maintain records of students being serviced
Notes taken directly from the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
Existing Core Curriculum
Religion, Integrated Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science
The educational needs of blind and visually impaired students include an Expanded Core Curriculum that addresses the unique needs of these students. The areas of the expanded core curriculum that all visually impaired/blind students need to master along with the regular existing core curriculum are listed below.
Compensatory Academic Skills
Compensatory skills are those that blind and visually impaired students need to access all areas of the core curriculum. Mastery of compensatory skills will usually mean that the visually impaired has access to learning in a manner equal to that of sighted peers.
These academic skills include learning experiences such as concept development, spatial understanding, study and organizational skills, speaking and listening skills, and the adaptations necessary for accessing all areas of the existing core curriculum. Students may communicate through Braille, large print, print with the use of optical devices, regular print, tactile symbols, a calendar system, sign language, recorded materials, or combinations of these means. Whatever the choice of materials, each student with a visual impairment will need instruction from a teacher with professional preparation in each of the compensatory and functional skills they need to master. These compensatory and functional needs of the visually impaired child are significant.
Orientation and Mobility
This is a vital area of learning, which requires delivery by teachers with specific preparation. It emphasizes the fundamental need and basic right of visually impaired people to travel as independently as possible, enjoying and learning to the greatest extent possible from the environment through which they are passing. Students will need to learn about themselves and the environment in which they move-from basic body image to independent travel in rural areas and busy cities.
Social Interaction Skills
Sighted children and adults have learned almost all their social skills by visually observing other people and behaving in socially appropriate ways based on that information. Blind and visually impaired individuals cannot learn skills of social interaction in this casual and incidental fashion. They learn through careful, conscious, and sequential learning. Instruction in these skills is such a fundamental need that it can often mean the difference between social isolation and a satisfying and fulfilling life as an adult.
Independent Living Skills
This area, often referred to as daily living skills, consists of all the tasks and functions people perform, according to their abilities, in order to live as independently as possible. These curricular needs are varied and include among other skills personal hygiene, food preparation, money management, time monitoring, and organization. The existing core curriculum addresses some independent living skills, but they often are introduced as “splinter skills,” appearing in learning material, disappearing, and then re-appearing. This approach will not adequately prepare blind and visually impaired students for adult life. Traditional classes in home economics and family life are not enough to meet the learning needs of most visually impaired students because they assume a basic level of knowledge, acquired incidentally through vision. As with the skills of social interaction, blind and visually impaired students cannot learn these skills without direct, sequential instruction by knowledgeable people.
Recreation and Leisure Skills
The existing core curriculum usually addresses the needs of sighted students for physical fitness through physical education in the form of team games and athletics. Many activities in physical education are excellent and appropriate for visually impaired students, but these students also need to develop recreational and leisure activities that they can enjoy throughout their adult lives. Sighted people usually select such activities by visually observing them and choosing those in which they wish to participate. Recreation and leisure skills must be deliberately planned and taught to blind and visually impaired students and should focus on the development of life-long skills.
Many of the skills and knowledge offered to all students through vocational education will not be sufficient to prepare blind and visually impaired students for adult life. They will also need career education offered for them specifically because here, too, general instruction assumes a basic knowledge of the world of work based on prior visual experiences. Career education in an expanded core curriculum should begin in the earliest grades to give the visually impaired learner of all ages the opportunity to learn firsthand about the variety of work people do. It will give the student chances to explore strengths and interests in a systematic, well-planned manner. Unemployment and underemployment are leading problems facing adult visually impaired people in the United States, making this portion of the expanded core curriculum vital to students.
Technology is a tool to unlock learning and expand the horizons of students. It is not, in reality, a curriculum area, but it is added to the expanded core curriculum because of the special place it occupied in the education of blind and visually impaired students. Technology can be a great equalizer. For the Braille user, it will produce material in Braille for personal use and then in print for the teacher, classmates, and parents. Technology enables blind people to store and retrieve information and brings a library under the fingertips of the visually impaired person. It enhances communication and learning and expands the world of blind and visually impaired persons in many significant ways.
Visual Efficiency Skills
The visual acuity of children diagnosed as visually impaired varies greatly. With thorough, systematic training, most students with functional vision can learn to use their remaining vision better and more efficiently. Educational responsibility for performing a functional vision assessment, planning appropriate learning activities for effective visual use, and teaching students to use their functional vision effectively and efficiently falls to the professionally prepared teacher of visually impaired learners.
It is difficult to imagine that a congenitally blind or visually impaired person could be entirely at ease within the social, recreational, and vocational structure of the general community without mastering the elements of the expanded core curriculum. We know that unless congenitally blind and visually impaired students learn skills such as orientation and mobility, social interaction, and independent living they are at high risk for lonely, isolated, unproductive lives. For blind and visually impaired people, accomplishments and joys such as shopping, dining, attending and participating in recreational activities are a right, not a privilege. Responsibilities such as banking, taking care of health needs, and using public and private services are a part of a full life of every one, including those who are blind or visually impaired. Adopting and implementing a core curriculum for blind or visually impaired students, including those with additional disabilities, will assure students of the opportunity to function well and completely in the general community.
This expanded core curriculum epitomizes the “right” of the visually impaired student “to be different.” It is the heart of the responsibility of educators serving visually impaired students.
Children with Additional Disabilities
The components of the expanded core curriculum give educators the means to address the needs of visually impaired children with additional disabilities. The educational requirements of these children are often not met because their lack of vision is considered “minor”, especially if the child has severe cognitive and physical disabilities. Appropriate professionals can further define each area in the expanded core curriculum to address the educational issues facing these children and assist parents and educators to fulfill their needs.
Reprinted from talk given at the AER Conference, 2002 by Frances Mary D’Andrea, Director, National Literacy Center, American Foundation for the Blind and Carol Farrenkopf, Blind/Low Vision Consultant, Toronto School District
What is “Low Vision”?
A visual impairment after correction, but with the potential for use of available vision with or without optical or nonoptical:
- Visual strategies
- Environmental modifications - to plan and perform daily tasks.
Some Things Students with Low Vision
Might Need or Use…
- Closed-circuit television (CCTV) (desktop or portable)
- CCTV connected to a computer
- Magnifier (dome-shaped, horizontal bar, floppy sheet-size)
- Monocular telescope (mounted on glasses or hand-held)
- Binocular telescope (mounted on glasses or hand-held)
- Desktop computer with large monitor
- Screen enlargement program to increase the size of images on the monitor
- Speech synthesizer that enables the computer to read aloud what is on the screen
- Print printer
- Books/material in digital format
- Coloured overlays (plastic non-glare sheets that change the colour of print materials)
- Alternative light sources to increase light and/or reduce glare on work surfaces
- Slant board or book stand on which print material and books are placed to make reading and writing more comfortable
- Sighted readers
- Extra desk/work space
- Extra storage space for large print books, technological devices, and other learning materials
- Preferential seating in the classroom (usually at the front of the room, near a power outlet, away from direct light sources such as the window)
- Black-lined paper
- Black felt-tipped marker rather than pencil (sometimes a thick lead pencil works well)
- Thick white chalk or dustless chalk for the use by the teacher when writing on the chalkboard?
- Black marker (rather than other colors) for use by the teacher when writing on a “white” board or white chart paper
- Large print textbooks
- Enlarged photocopies of handouts, worksheets
Parent – Student Handbook
St. Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments
I have read this handbook and understand its contents. My child is aware of the expectations of the school to his/her best ability. We agree to cooperate with the expectations expressed within this document. We also understand that special considerations may always be requested and determined in consultation with the principal.
Parent Signature: _______________________________________________
Student Signature: ______________________________________________